Wish (Book review)

If you could have anything, what would you wish for? For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone… until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn’t just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can’t solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.

I just finished this book last night – I was drawn to it partly by the magical aspect of it, and partly because it involves a sibling who is deceased.  It really drove me nuts that it took so long for Olivia (and the author) to reveal how Violet had died (she drowned…  I don’t feel like I am giving anything away by telling you right off the bat).  “Wish” is a young-adult novel, and it reads like one – Olivia and the other characters are not quite 3-dimensional on the page (not like Jodi Picoult’s characters).  The story really starts when Olivia takes a torn dress in to a little shop called “Mariposa of the Mission” to be mended.  Mariposa is a Spanish name meaning “butterfly.”  Mariposa is the owner of the shop; however, she goes by the nickname “Posey.”

When I started this book, I thought the first wish Olivia makes (to have her sister back) was going to make it so Violet never died in the first place.  Not so.  Violet is a ghost – tangible only to Olivia’s touch.  And only Olivia can see her – though Posey can sense her presence.  After the first wish comes true, Olivia goes back to the shop looking for answers.  Posey gives her what she needs, and then tells her that there are rules to be followed in “Wish Club.”  Number one:  do not talk about Wish Club.  Number two:  DO NOT TALK ABOUT WISH CLUB (Apparently, that rule needs to be stated twice to underscore the importance of it), Number three:  Wishes will only be granted when the wisher is wearing a magical Mariposa dress (they have golden butterflies on them which take flight once the wish has been used).  Number four:  No wishing for ridiculously unattainable and universal things, like world peace, or an end to hunger and poverty (does this mean Alexandra Bullen – who looks really young in her author’s photo – believes these things to be unattainable?).  And the last rule is:  no wishing for more wishes.

Hmm.  The rules don’t say anything about wishing for love…  though I have seen and read enough about love spells (in fiction, of course!) to know the dangers of this.

I think this book would have been lots better if Alexandra Bullen had written the story from multiple points of views.  We barely get a glimpse of Olivia’s parents’ grief over losing Violet.  One thing that stood out for me were the trendy names of the characters:  Bowen, Soren, Calla, Lark, etc.  I love the name Soren for a boy, by the way.  We are, as readers, bombarded, with characters’ emotions, yet we are left feeling little for them, when all is said and done. The book is Bullen’s attempt at making an adult story into a junior-size book, uncomplicated by the messy details and emotions.  That said, I did recommend this book to a friend.  I love fairy tales and magical stories.  Maybe if I read this book back in high school, I would have liked it better as a whole.

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